1811: Best-Tasting Colors
Title text: I recognize that chocolate is its own thing on which reasonable people may differ. Everything else here is objective fact.
In this comic, Randall rates colors based on tastiness of various flavors, which makes it very similar to 388: Fuck Grapefruit. The colors are sorted in descending order (from most tasty to least tasty) by the midpoint of their overall taste range. However, since these foods are all commonly imitated for artificial flavorings, and the colors are consistent with the standard food colorings used as dye in candies with these flavorings, it's likely that this is Randall's rating of artificial flavors rather than the actual products.
Within each color, several individual items are placed at points marked by dots along a tastiness scale, with nine ticks ranging from bad (1) to good (9). For example, within the pink color band at the very top, watermelon is only rated 6/9 — much less tasty than cotton candy, which is almost at 9/9, making it the very best tasting flavor in the chart. Interestingly, watermelon is mentioned twice, as it is also listed under green. Usually people do not eat the green part of a watermelon, so it is strange that Randall has rated both types at almost the same level of tastiness. It could be that he sees the green watermelon as green, but also sees the pink fruit inside, so it is actually the pink fruit that is rated for both colors, or the chart is a rating of candy (such as jellybean or popsicle) flavors, as it is not uncommon for both green and pink to represent watermelon in those situations.
For pink, blue and white there are one, two and three regions, respectively labeled with "???". It is not clear what the purpose of these is. Perhaps they indicate regions in which Randall is unable to think of any examples, and is inviting the reader to speculate. For instance, are there any pink-colored foods more tasty than watermelon (6/9) but less tasty than cotton candy (8.5/9)? It could also be that he thinks there must be other interesting foods with this color, which could seem to be the case for white and blue, where there are a group of question marks above the most tasty labeled flavor blue raspberries and vanilla for white. The latter is yet a joke, as vanilla is black, but is often used in white food such as vanilla ice, which he may have been thinking off, or just again messes with his readers.
The question marks thus imply an arbitrary tastiness assigned to a color that is not derived from an actual data point, however. For instance, the only blue datapoint is "blue raspberry", assigned a ranking of 5.5. But the range assigned to blue as a whole is 4 to 8. The regions on either side of the blue raspberry dot are labeled with ???.
There are a few exceptions with chocolate the most obvious as Randall makes a wide range for chocolate for brown, ranging from 2.5-9.5 out of 9. And the arrows here ends in single question marks indicating that the range could be even longer. In the title text he acknowledges the fact chocolate is its own thing and that regarding its taste reasonable people may differ in opinion.
The region for chocolate could not go further down because below the section for chocolate for brown food, there is another range with some other brown food items that Randall really does not like, caramel and especially coffee at 1.5/9. It may seem that Randall has never grown up to drink the drinks that society often dictates that you should drink. Not drinking Coffee (or hating it when you do) can be a problem with all the coffee breaks and meetings held over coffee etc. And as Randall has shown in 1534: Beer he also doesn't like beer...
Although it is not so clear as with chocolate pistachio is also split up with three lines indicating a range on the green from about 5 to 7 without any assigned point to their taste. And finally popcorn at 1.5/9 simply falls below the otherwise already low and slim rating range for yellow foods (2.5-3.5) with only lemon at 3/9 included. Many people love popcorn, but not especially for the corns actual taste, which is non existing if not for the adding of salt or sugar or other additives.
The worst taste by far to Randall, though, is licorice, and black food has a very small range from almost below 1 to less than 1.5. In USA it seems few people like licorice (although as most of the other mentioned food items, it may come in a wide variety of flavors and strengths). But in for instance northern Europe (Scandinavia) many people love it. See more explanations for all the mentioned flavors in the table below. It also seems that Randall's taste has changed over the nine years since the grapefruit comic.
In the title text, Randall asserts that his rankings of colors and flavors are indisputable (with the exception of chocolate). This together with rather obscure flavors included ("blue raspberry", "creamsicle") rather than more obvious choices, such as banana for yellow and carrot for orange could be a jab at the reception of his first food ranking comic, 388: Fuck Grapefruit which ranked fruits based on their tastiness and ease of consumption. Randall claims that it is the most controversial piece he has ever published. So all this is maybe just a way to generate even more controversy about this comic, and based on the discussion below he may have succeeded.
In 882: Significant researchers were studying the effect of eating 20 differently colored types of jelly beans (and all colors here are included except white).
|Randall seems to like cotton candy. This treat is sold in many places, most notably carnivals.
|Watermelon is a fruit that is used as a processed candy flavoring, especially in hard candies, and is usually very sweet and pink in color. The actual fruit is made of 95 percent water.
|Strawberries are a seeded fruit which are usually sweet and red. They are of relatively small size.
|Cherries are red fruits that range from very tart to very sweet in taste.
|Raspberries are reddish-pink fruits (though Randall lists them under red) that are in the more tart category of fruits.
|Blue-colored raspberries are not found in nature. While some bramble fruit species and cultivars are sometimes referred to as "blue raspberry" - notably Rubus leucodermis - the actual color of such fruit varies between purple and black as it matures, closer to that of blackberries than for example blueberries.
While not a real fruit color, "blue raspberry" is nevertheless a common artificial flavor, ostensibly based on Rubus leucodermis. Products featuring this flavor are often artificially colored bright blue (nowhere near the hue of Rubus leucodermis fruit), contributing to the perceived association between the color and the flavor among general population.
|Green apples are usually more sweet than red apples, which are not listed, and are Randall's favorite apple. He mentioned a dislike for red apples in his what if? Blog
|While the red part of a watermelon and the pink watermelon flavoring used in candy are widely eaten and sweet, the green rind is hard and not normally eaten. It could also be a reference to how some types of candy color their "watermelon" flavor as green.
|Mint is a herb that can be considered as spicy by some people, which makes it unappealing to them.
|Limes are a green, sour fruit sharing many traits with lemons. These are rarely eaten as fruit, but can be served with water or beer.
|Pistachios are green nuts. Randall seems unsure of where to place these on the chart.
|47% to 70%
|Randall is likely playing with expectations here. Vanilla and vanilla bean are both dark brown, not white. But vanilla ice cream is white thanks to the cream, milk, and sugar used in its creation. The brown is nearly invisible in the ice cream, either as vanilla extract mixed in or as minute flakes of vanilla bean in exceptional vanilla ice creams.
|White chocolate is disliked by many people who assert that it is "not real chocolate" because it contains no cocoa solids and is mainly cocoa butter and sugar.
|Chocolate is given a very wide range. While widely recognized as a classic candy, containing the chemical phenylethylamine which literally makes the human brain happier, there are also very staunch and not rare people who clearly and adamantly don't like it. There are also many varieties of chocolate with varying degrees of sweetness -- and, not coincidentally, colors to help differentiate them. Randall deems the whole situation too complex to assign to only one data point.
|38% to 86%. (range of text area)
|Caramel is a liquid-like substance usually drizzled on desserts. "Caramel" can also refer to the coloring. Randall seems to enjoy caramel less than many people.
|While widely enjoyed by many people, coffee is a bitter beverage (or bean). Many people add sugar and/or cream to their coffee (or cover the beans in chocolate) to make it palatable. Clearly Randall does not like black coffee (coffee with no sweeteners or additives)
|Orange creamsicle is an ice pop sold by Popsicle. It is known as a favorite among the Popsicle lineup.
|Oranges are round fruits similar in size to an apple. Randall appears to dislike oranges, maybe because of their slightly sour flavoring or the difficulty of opening one up.
Interestingly, in this comic Randall rates oranges as tasting worse than lemons, while in 388: Fuck Grapefruit, it was lemons he charted as tasting significantly worse.
|Popcorn is a very popular food item, but not for its flavor. By itself it has nearly no flavor, and the usual toppings of salt and butter are some of the most basic cravings the human tongue asks for.
|Lemons by themselves have a very strong sour flavor. Many people, apparently including Randall, do not like this taste raw or on its own, though some do. To make lemons appealing to those who don't like very sour things, they are instead added as ingredients in a much larger dish, often with sugar added to balance the sourness.
|Randall apparently does not like Concord grapes, a small, oval-like purple fruit. He did not list green grapes, though. But given his previous comic 388: Fuck Grapefruit it seems likely that he like the green grapes very much as they were listed as some of the most tasty fruits
|Licorice has a strong bitter and spicy flavor. It is made from the root of the plant Glycyrrhiza glabra. Most Americans tend to find it a very unpleasant flavor. It would appear that Randall resides within that majority.
- [Caption above the chart:]
- Best-Tasting Colors
- [Below the caption there is a scale with two large ticks (with labels written above) at either end and seven smaller ticks in between for nine ticks in total. The labels:]
- [Below the scale to the left is a numbered list of ten colors. Black double arrows goes under the scale. On the arrows there are labeled points, but there is also questions marks and other exceptions where text is not pointing to a point. Labels appear both above and below the arrows, but here the text is listed as it appears on the scale from left (bad) to right (good):]
- 1. Pink - Watermelon, ???, Cotton candy
- 2. Red - Raspberry, Cherry, Strawberry
- 3. Blue - ???, Blue raspberry, ???
- 4. Green - Lime, Mint, Pistachio??, Watermelon, Green apple
- 5. White - ???, White chocolate, ???, Vanilla, ???
- 6. Brown - Coffee, Caramel ? [However you feel about chocolate] ?
- 7. Orange - Orange, Creamsicle
- 8. Yellow - Popcorn?!, Lemon
- 9. Purple - Grape
- 10. Black - Licorice
- Click to expand for a more detailed description:
- [There is no more text from the comic below here:]
- [Below the scale to the left is a numbered list of ten colors, the name of the color written in said color (white written on a gray background). From the color goes a thin gray line out under the scale. At different points and lengths along the scale there appear black double arrows pointing to two lines. The gray line never extends beyond the black arrows to the right. On the line of these arrows there are one to four points, that have all been labeled with gray text (both above and below the arrow to which the labels belong).]
- [Five places on three arrows there are groups of three questions marks which relates to a region on the arrow rather than a point, either with three lines pointing to the arrow (once for pink and trice for white) or just standing close beneath the arrow (twice for blue). There are only three other exceptions.]
- [First there is pistachio which has no point but has three lines going from the text to the arrow for green.]
- [Second there is chocolate, which has its own double arrow where the ends do not end in lines but in questions marks. The arrow is broken by a square bracket with normal black text written on two lines within it. This arrow thus does not connect with the other "normal" arrow for brown to the left of the chocolate arrow.]
- [Third there is a point that is outside the black arrow for yellow on the gray line for popcorn. That is the only place where the gray line exceeds any black markings as it is only broken by the dot and then continues further to the arrow.]
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